Entry #42 in the Disney Animated Canon, Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 traditionally-animated sci-fi comedy-drama film. It was both critically and commercially acclaimed, a rarity for Disney's animated films during their "Experimental Era" after the Disney Renaissance.
Set mainly in the lush Hawaiian island of Kauai, sisters Nani (voiced by Tia Carrere) and Lilo Pelekai (Daveigh Chase), recent orphans of a car accident, are practically alone in the world except for each other. Lilo, often lost in her own world, neither understands nor is understood by her hula classmates. Nani loves her little sister, but the stress of responsibility makes her a bit short-tempered and resentful.
Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Jumba Jookiba (David Ogden Stiers), the maddest scientist to splice genetics this side of the Milky Way, stands trial for illegally engineering a new life form (actually 626 life forms, but it is his latest that we're concerned with). Experiment 626 ("six-two-six") has a vast capacity for knowledge, spectacular combat abilities, and a programmed instinct to destroy anything he comes across.
Escaping from the United Galactic Federation, 626 takes a shortcut to the closest planet, which is 70% water (important because he is too dense to swim or float) — and miraculously lands on the bitty Hawaiian archipelago in the middle of the Pacific, crashing on the island of Kauai. He adopts Lilo as readily as Lilo adopts him. However, while Lilo wants a companion, Stitch, as she named the alien, wants a human shield to deter Dr. Jumba, who is hot on his trail with the help of the neurotic Agent Pleakley (Kevin McDonald). Stitch inadvertently learns the meaning of ʻohana: "ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten." In other words, True Companions.
This movie was a significant breakaway for Disney on many counts, including an unconventional protagonist, crossover "Inter-Stitch-al" trailers, the lack of either romance troubles or a real villain, and the score drawn from home-grown Hawaiian songs and artists — and, of course, Elvis Presley. Unlike other Disney animated films, Disney was hands-off the creative development and did not interfere with the story: director Chris Sanders wanted the film to reflect his own drawing style. He wrote the entire draft along with his directing partner Dean DeBlois and even voiced the protagonist Stitch — a character he originally created back in 1985 for a failed children's book pitch — himself.
Of course, ʻohana did not stop there. The idea of 625 other experiments by Jumba was inevitably too tempting for Disney to ignore, and they quickly developed a franchise out of this film's success. Head to this page to read more about the sequels and spin-offs.
Since its release, Stitch's habit of sneaking into other shows and platforms resulted not just in the movie's teaser trailers, but also in a short cameo in The Lion King 1½, an appearance in the "outtakes" of Brother Bear, four crossover episodes in the second season of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, a role in the Kingdom Hearts video game series, an appearance as a meet-and-greet character in Kinect: Disneyland Adventures, his and Lilo's appearances in Disney Magical World, that game's sequel adding a world based on their universe along with Jumba and Pleakley, and Stitch made into a playable character in the late Disney Infinity series starting with its second game, with that game receiving a "Toy Box Expansion Game" based on Lilo & Stitch with Pleakley making an appearance. In short, Stitch since became (in)famous for being a very crossover friendly character within Disney's works, to the point that throughout 2021 (and early 2022) Disney released a merchandise collection called "Stitch Crashes Disney".
A live-action/CGI adaptation of the film is in works. It will be produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, who are also responsible for the 2019 Aladdin remake, and directed by Dean Fleischer Camp (Marcel the Shell with Shoes On). Chris Kekaniokalani Bright is in talks with Disney to write the script. Chris Sanders is expected to reprise his iconic role as the voice of Stitch.
The YMMV page for this film is over here.
Note: If you were looking for the sequel TV series instead, that would be Lilo & Stitch: The Series. If a trope's page linked you here when it was supposed to refer to the show, then please go back and correct it to link to that pagenote instead.
No trope gets left behind or forgotten:
- Adorable Abomination:
- Stitch, who was originally designed as an indestructible prototype experiment, becomes one of these when he disguises himself as a dog in order to take refuge from Jumba on Earth. When Jumba is fired and decides to track Stitch on his own:Jumba: Come on, what's the big deal?Stitch: Inga tu smeeshta!Jumba: I'll put you back together again... I'll make you taller, and not so fluffy.Stitch: I like fluffy!
- Later on, when Stitch is attempting to rescue Lilo from Gantu:Stitch: Aloha!Gantu: Grr! You're vile, you're foul, you're flawed!Stitch: Also cute and fluffy!
- Even in his true form, he's still adorable. Also, several characters react with shock and horror to his dog disguise and consider him deformed or mutated. Lilo is the only human character whose initial reaction to him isn't negative.
- Stitch, who was originally designed as an indestructible prototype experiment, becomes one of these when he disguises himself as a dog in order to take refuge from Jumba on Earth. When Jumba is fired and decides to track Stitch on his own:
- Aerial Canyon Chase:
- The climax involves Jumba, Pleakley, Nani, and Stitch flying in a giant spaceship to save Lilo from Gantu, who accidentally captured her while attempting to capture Stitch (he escaped), by chasing him down a series of volcano-filled canyons located all over Hawaii.
- Originally, they were going to go after Gantu by chasing him down with a stolen passenger jet into the capital city of Honolulu, but due to 9/11, the scene had to be reanimated into what we see in the final version of the film.
- Affably Evil: Jumba Jookiba may constantly boast over his status as an evil genius, and he may have created over 600 super-destructive aliens, but he's a pretty decent and sociable guy overall.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Part of Stitch's escape from the prison transport ship. Justified, because Stitch is small enough to fit into them and he can squeeze into impossibly tight places.
- Alien Blood: Stitch has pink blood, seen when a blood sample is drawn by Gantu at the start of the film.
- Aliens in Cardiff: Aliens land on a small island in Hawaii.
- Aliens Speaking English: Justified in Stitch's case, he's super-intelligent and learns it over the course of the film. As for the other aliens, not even handwaved.
- Aliens Steal Cable: The Federation seem to be mostly ignorant of Earth and its culture, but there are a few examples of this in the film. Pleakley has a View-Master which he uses to learn about Earth, Jumba has apparently heard "Hound Dog" before (he recognizes it and declares, "I love this song!" when it starts playing), and Stitch knows the Punch Buggy game (though he, at least, has been on Earth a few days and could have picked it up during that time).
- Alliterative Name: Jumba Jookiba.
- All of the Other Reindeer:
- The movie shows that Lilo is rejected by her peers for being "weird", while Stitch is rejected by the Galactic Federation (this is at least marginally understandable, however, given Stitch's destructive powers and fondness for anarchy).
- The trailers and print advertising played around with this, showing Stitch being rejected by various members of the Disney Animated Canon; the tagline was "There's one in every family."
- All There in the Script: Lilo and Nani's last name (Pelekai) has never been verbally referred to by any character in this film. It appeared on the adoption paper where Lilo is written as Stitch's owner. It wouldn't be until Leroy & Stitch where Lilo was finally referred to with surname attached.note
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
- An odd case. "Baby You Belong" by American singer Faith Hill was used as the theme song in the Japanese version, while it was relegated to an obscure album track everywhere else.
- The UK release replaced one of the Elvis tracks ("Suspicious Minds") with a cover version from Gareth Gates, who was popular at the time of this film's release.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Lilo's mix of eccentricities, behavioral issues, social inappropriateness, and unusual interests (not many six-year-old girls these days are obsessed with Elvis—let alone voodoo).
- Amusing Alien:
- And Then What?: Briefly played for drama in the scene where Stitch, after trashing Lilo's room, looks around impatiently, and Jumba observes:Jumba: This is interesting.
Jumba: 626 was created for destruction, but now there is nothing to destroy. You see, I never created a greater purpose for him. What must it be like to have... nothing... not even memories to visit... in the middle of the night?
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Lilo is sometimes this to Nani, especially during the scenes before and during Bubbles's first visit, and the scene in the luau. Nani even says this to Lilo during their argument ("You're such a pain!").
- Answer Cut: "Tell me, my little one-eyed one. On what poor, pitiful, defenseless planet has my monstrosity been unleashed?" Cut to Earth — Hawaii, specifically.
- Arc Words: "ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind — or forgotten."
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
Stitch: ALSO CUTE AND FLUFFY!!!
- A fairly lighthearted take on it, but Stitch is programmed to destroy buildings, back up sewers, reverse road signs, and steal everyone's left shoe.
- Pleakley also adds, sarcastically, as they're riding on a motorbike to save Lilo, that he was "hoping to add theft, endangerment, and insanity to the list of things I did today!"
- Gantu, when pursuing Stitch, remarks: "You're vile, you're foul, you're flawed!"
- Area 51:
- While finding Stitch's exit from hyperspace to be Earth, the aliens refer to our planet as being "Quadrant 17, Section 005, area 51. A planet called Eee-arth.
- Cobra met the high chancellor-type alien in Roswell, they recognize each other.
- The Artifact: The spaceship chase scene at the end of the film originally had the good guys flying a passenger jet, but 9/11 made that one a no-go, so it was changed to being Jumba's personal ship instead. Since most of the animation and setpieces got reused, it results in Jumba having a very unusually 747-like ship.
- Artistic License Animal Care:
- For one thing, tropical saltwater fish should not be fed peanut butter sandwiches.
- Dogs should never eat or drink anything with caffeine in it. If Stitch wasn't an alien and was an actual Earth dog, Lilo would have probably unintentionally killed him for letting him drink coffee.
- Spray bottles should only be used to stop bad behavior, such as chewing or jumping. Trying to teach a dog to play fetch by squirting it with a spray bottle is a good way to get a dog that doesn't enjoy playing and becomes afraid of you.
- The woman who works at the pound says she thought Stitch was a dead dog when he was first brought in. Leaving him in a pen with living dogs would be a big no-no in that case.
- Artistic License Physics:
- Stitch, who possesses super-strength, is able to pull a semi-truck to a stop. In truth, regardless of how strong he is, a creature of Stitch's light weight could never do these things unless he also had super-anchoring powers, plus some way to keep whatever he's holding from ripping off.
- When Stitch plays ukulele at the beach, Lilo plugs in an amplifier, despite the ukulele itself—a wooden string instrument—not being connected to said amp.
- Ash Face:Nani: David! Did you light yourself on fire AGAIN?!
David: Nah, just the stage.
- Author Vocabulary Calendar: "Abomination!" is used to draw early parallels between Lilo and Stitch; both have the word applied to them early on (Stitch by the Galactic Councilwoman, and Lilo hypothetically by herself). The two "Does this look infected to you?" lines serve a similar purpose.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: The "Cobra" part of Cobra Bubbles.
- Bad Liar: Nani goes frantically looking for Lilo, with Cobra Bubbles showing up to inspect her house a moment later. Nani tries to hide any and all signs of bad housekeeping that would make her look like a bad guardian, but Cobra can clearly see that the situation has taken a turn for the worse, giving Nani 3 days to improve the situation.
- Bare Your Midriff: Nani. Lilo and other girls in hula outfits. Mertle in her regular outfit.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Nani asks for something tough at the dog shelter, and gets a pet who is bulletproof, fireproof, and survived being hit by a truck.
- Becoming the Mask: Stitch. He starts out masquerading as a dog for protection, but eventually Lilo's love causes him to do a HeelFace Turn. The signifying moment is when, after having rescued Lilo only to be arrested by the United Galactic Federation, he corrects the Grand Councilwoman that his name is Stitch, not Experiment 626.
- Belly-Scraping Flight: During the Aerial Canyon Chase, Jumba's spaceship comes close enough to the ground to knock the sunburned tourist's ice cream cone out of his hand with its wingtip. In the deleted version with a hijacked 747, at one point the plane scrapes its landing gear against the side of a skyscraper in Honolulu.
- Berserk Button:
Lilo: Be careful of that! You don't touch this! Don't ever touch it!
- Calling Lilo crazy or bringing up her dead mom in disparaging conversation. In the second case she gets so mad not even Stitch bothers to stop her.
- Don't touch the photograph of Lilo, Nani, and her parents:
- Don't call Jumba an idiot scientist, especially if you don't want your newspaper reporting on his arrest to get ripped up and eaten.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Lilo can turn very nasty when provoked. She bit Mertle and punched her in the face for calling her crazy. She also yells at Stitch for attempting to touch her family photo, and is disgusted when Stitch reveals his true form to her after the house is blown up, shoving him away and ordering him to leave.
- Big Bad: An interesting take on this; the Grand Councilwoman serves this role in the story, but in a larger context, she's actually the galaxy's Big Good. So she's the Big Antagonist.
- Big Good: The Grand Councilwoman, as described in the above example, is a Reasonable Authority Figure who only serves a Big Bad role because Stitch is a monster initially.
- The Big Guy:
- Gantu, both in command, as he is the Captain of the Galactic Armada, and in size, as he is possibly the biggest character on the ship.
- Big "NO!":
- Pleakley lets out three, each louder than the last, outside the house as Jumba attacks Stitch inside, throwing things through the roof.
- Gantu lets out an angry one after he fails to shoot Stitch after blasting him off his ship with the afterburners.
- Big Sister Instinct:
- Nani has this for Lilo, as they have only each other until Stitch comes along and does her best to take care of her.
- Lilo, despite technically being his owner, becomes more of a sibling to Stitch, using Elvis Presley as a role model, with Stitch ultimately redeeming himself by enlisting the help of Jumba, Pleakley, and Nani to rescue Lilo from Gantu.
- David Kawena displays Big Brother Instinct with Lilo, and Stitch, as a spear counterpart to Nani, diving into the ocean to rescue Lilo and Stitch from drowning after Jumba unsuccessfully tries to capture Stitch, and making at least two trips to bring Lilo's ʻohana and the aliens to the mainland after Stitch defeats Gantu.
- Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head:
- Nani is almost hit by a car as she rushes back home and shouts at the driver, "Watch where you're going, stupidhead!" It comes back to bite her when said "stupidhead" turns out to be the social worker assigned to her.
- "Stupidhead" returns later in the film as Stitch's insult to Gantu when they stare each other down during their fight.
- Big "WHAT?!": From Jumba.Stitch: (Saying something along the lines of "Let's help save Lilo.")
(See Blunt "Yes" below.)
- Big "YES!":
- David lets out a loud "YEAH!" onstage when we first see him at the luau.
- Near the end of the second surfing session, Stitch stands up on the surfboard and shouts "Yeah!", right before Jumba swims up behind him and snatches him.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Lilo has a sign on her door that says "Kapu", which is Hawaiian for "keep out" (related to the word "taboo", which is Tongan).
- The name "Lilo" means "Generous One" in Hawaiian. It can also be interpreted as "Lost" and this would give the song title "He Mele No Lilo" a loose translation as "Lullaby of the Lost".
- The name Nani means "Beautiful" in Hawaiian.
- "Lilo, you lolo, do we have a lobster door? No! We have a dog door! We are getting a dog!"
- David uses the Hawaiian greeting "Howzit", which is Hawaiian slang for "How's it going?"
- Blatant Lies:
Jumba: I would never ever (Stitch is presented as evidence) ...make more than one!
- During Jumba's trial when he denies creating new lifeforms.
- We see in the sequel material that this is a lie, too, made obvious in the original by that fact that Stitch is designated Experiment 626.
- Blind Jump: The hyperspace jump that sends Stitch to Kaua'i was entirely blind because his stolen cruiser's navigation systems weren't working. He was fortunate to land on a habitable planet, and more so for landing on an island instead of the water.
- Bluffing the Advance Scout: At the end it's revealed that Cobra did this.Cobra: Saved the planet once: convinced an alien race that mosquitoes were an endangered species.
- Blunt "Yes":Jumba: After all you put me through, you expect me to help you, just like that?! Just like that?!Stitch: Ih. ["Yes."][Beat]Jumba: Fine!Pleakley: "Fine?" You're doing what he says?!Jumba: He is very persuasive.
- B-Movie: Stitch sees one showing in a TV store window display, emulating it by acting like a monster. The movie in question is Earth vs. the Spider.
- Bowdlerise: On the theater and home video version of this movie in the United Kingdom, the scene of Lilo hiding in a clothes dryer was redrawn so that way Lilo's hiding in a commode with a pizza box for a door (the UK — no matter what the rating of the movie — always edits out scenes of harmful, dangerous, and illegal activities that younger, more impressionable viewers will think is okay to imitate). This is justified as an estimated 2,000 kids a year get into clothes dryer accidents, some of which turn fatal. Disney+ uses this version of the scene in all regions. When the film is aired on TV, this part is outright removed.
- Break the Cutie: Lilo and Nani are currently dealing with the loss of their parents and other problems, such as social isolation, before Stitch comes along and his trouble destroys their house.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Lilo and Stitch look directly towards the viewer twice during their dance at Mrs. Hasagawa's fruit stand. Just before that, when Lilo gets Stitch to move his hips to the side, he looks at the viewer and oohs in wonder before the duo immediately go into their dance. A more subtle fourth wall-break happens earlier in the film when Stitch is adopted (as detailed under Easter Egg below).
- Brick Joke:
- Earth is a wildlife reserve for the endangered species mosquito. It's a throwaway joke at the beginning of the film, and gets a follow-up throwaway joke in the middle of the film when Pleakley the mosquito enthusiast gets his first close-up experience of mosquitos' feeding method. Then it's apparently forgotten about until the end, when Cobra Bubbles is explaining how he knows about aliens and reveals that he's the one who persuaded them that mosquitoes were an endangered species so that Earth would be protected.
- The frog Stitch threatens soon after arriving on Earth reappears later when Gantu has captured Lilo. A truck also appears in both scenes.
- Brown Note: Whatever it is that Stitch says in the courtroom, it causes three members to faint on the spot, and a robotic one starts vomiting nuts and bolts.
- Brutal Honesty: Cobra Bubbles, after his first visit to Lilo's and Nani's house:Cobra Bubbles: Let me illuminate to you the precarious situation in which you have found yourself: I am the one they call when things have gone wrong, and things have indeed gone wrong.[to Lilo] Call me next time you're left here alone.[to Nani] In case you're wondering, this did not go well. You have three days to change my mind.
- Bullethole Door: In the fight scene, Jumba fires a bunch of plates around where Stitch is standing, causing the segment to collapse on top of him.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": "I got a new dog, his name is Stitch!"
- Call-Back: When he first emerges from his ship on Earth, Stitch encounters a frog and nearly shoots it because of his homicidal tendencies. During the climax, he saves another one from being collateral when Gantu shoots at him.
- When Stitch is first introduced, Jumba states he is fireproof, among other things. One of the things we see him doing in the montage at the end is working alongside David as a fire dancer, and because of his extra set of arms, he is able to hold four flaming poles, as opposed to David's two.
- Stitch uses a red police cruiser to escape from Planet Turo at the beginning. At the end, Jumba, dressed as Santa Claus, presents Lilo and Stitch with two smaller but similar cruisers at Christmas, and Stitch's one looks like a smaller version of the one he used to escape earlier.
- Came from the Sky: Lilo and Nani see something crash near their house. Nani doesn't seem to care but Lilo thinks it's a shooting star and makes a wish for a friend, "Maybe an angel, the nicest angel you have." Cut to a decidedly non-angelic Experiment 626 emerging from the wreckage.
- Can-Crushing Cranium: Stitch crushes a can with his head as he wanders around the house, at a loss to what to do next.
- Car Fu: Stitch is easily strong enough to pick up a car and use it as a blunt object. Also doubles as a Visual Pun: he throws a blue Volkswagen Beetle with the line, "Blue Punch Buggy!" It's a reference to the classic car game of "Punch Buggy"—you call out the line and punch the guy next to you (lightly) whenever you see a Beetle.
- Carnivore Confusion: Lilo thinks it's horrendous to feed a tuna sandwich to Pudge, who is a fish just like tuna is. Though Pudge is not a tuna fish, he seems more in line with Hawaii's native tropical fauna.
- Casual Danger DialogueLilo: (on the phone) Hello, Cobra Bubbles? Aliens are attacking my house.
- Cathartic Scream: After an argument between Nani and Lilo, both of them retreat to scream into their respective pillows in frustration.
- Chainsaw Good: "Oh good, my dog found the chainsaw." Though Stitch is stopped before he gets to use it.
- Characterization Marches On: The Grand Councilwoman is remarkably pacifistic here, offering Stitch a trial and never even considering executing him even after he insults the council. This is a far cry from her behavior in Stitch! The Movie and Lilo & Stitch: The Series, where she threatens to kill all the experiments without trial if Lilo cannot rehabilitate them.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- When Lilo and Nani first 'buy' Stitch at the animal shelter Lilo receives a certificate with a stamp on it stating that Stitch is now hers for two dollars. While this is not truly important at the time, it turns out that the certificate gives the Grand Councilwoman an excuse not to bring the rehabilitated Stitch in for crimes he'd been convicted of, since it would be considered stealing if the Councilwoman takes him away from his owner. In Cobra Bubbles' own words, "Aliens are all about rules."
- Cobra gives his card to Lilo when they first meet; she calls him when she's being attacked by aliens.
- The Fatal Family Photo of the Pelekai family. We get a brief glimpse of it when Stitch is first in Lilo's room. It's seen later and this time, Lilo reveals what happened to her parents: they died in a car accident during a storm.
- The VW Beetle parked under the house. It's later used as a weapon used by Stitch against Jumba when he tries to reclaim him at the house.
- Lilo's doll Scrump. She shows it to the other girls after the first hula class, then the doll comes back later when Stitch loads it with a bomb to try and fend off Jumba.
- Trucks. Stitch gets run over by three soon after crash-landing on Kauai. In the climax he nearly gets mown down by another one, but this time, he hijacks the truck and uses it to save Lilo from Gantu.
- Chewing the Scenery:
- "IT'S FISH! If I gave Pudge tuna, I'd be an ABOMINATION!"
- From a deleted scene: "TOURISTS, PREPARE TO DIE!"
- Clark Kenting: Stitch, who is believed to be a dog (although a lot of people are incredulous, and Nani notes that he looks more like "an evil koala"), and more notably Jumba and Pleakley masquerading as humans.
- Clingy Aquatic Life: Pleakley comes crawling out of the Pacific Ocean complaining about the wildlife, and also covered in it.
- Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder: Nani to Lilo.Nani: No, you're not taking her! I'm the only one who understands her! You take that away she won't stand a chance!
- Lilo is clearly a little touched in the head; it could be a method for coping with the death of her parents, or she could have been just as quirky beforehand. In either case, it's enough to drive away girls her own age and disturb adults. The creepy homemade doll, making voodoo on her hula halau-mates using spoons and pickle jars ("My friends need to be punished."), Elvis obsession, and worship of a fish (who apparently controls the weather) don't help her case. Neither does the fact that she finds Stitch cute and wants to keep him, while everyone else's reaction to seeing him is a variation on "What is that?!" Later on in the film it's revealed Lilo's parents died in a rainstorm, which is why she thinks her fish controls the weather. Fortunately, Lilo has good friends in a bunch of aliens who came to Earth. And a hovercraft!
- Jumba also qualifies, given his bizarre, Mad Scientist behavior.
- Mrs. Hasagawa appears to be one, as after Nani tells her she is there to answer Hasagawa's newspaper ad, Hasagawa says she can't talk now, as she is waiting for someone to answer her ad. The reason Nani's there in the first place. Mrs. Hasagawa is a Scatterbrained Senior.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Lampshaded with the red police cruiser.
- Come Back, My Pet!: Lilo tells Stitch to go away after she discovers that he's an alien, and that he's the reason that they were being pursued by Jumba and Pleakley. Right after, however, she gets captured by Gantu, and Stitch is taken into custody by Jumba and Pleakley, reminding Nani that ohana means family, with Stitch, Nani, Jumba, and Pleakley going on a mission to rescue Lilo.
- Comically Missing the Point: Lampshaded when Lilo meeets Cobra Bubbles:Cobra: Nice to meet you.
Lilo: Your knuckles say "Cobra", Cobra Bubbles; you don't look like a social worker.
Cobra: I'm a special classification.
Lilo: Did you ever kill anyone?
Cobra: We're getting off the subject. Let's talk about you.
- Company Cross References:
- Convection Schmonvection: At one point Stitch drives a fuel tanker straight into a pool of lava, with no problem. While Stitch was explicitly stated to be fireproof at the start of the film, justifying this trope somewhat, the tanker's wheels should have at least caught fire on the approach.
- Contrived Coincidence:
Lilo: It's good to live on an island with no large cities.
- Stitch lands on a small island in the middle of the ocean with no large cities; this renders about 90% of his destructive programming moot. Lilo gives it an unwitting Lampshade Hanging.
Stitch: (realizes that he won't be able to cause nearly as much destruction as he had hoped) (moans and faints)
- Earlier, the Grand Councilwoman gets her hopes up when she hears that the 'dangerous experiment' will crash-land in water that he cannot float in... and then sees that the crash trajectory ends on a tiny little island almost smack in the middle of Earth's largest ocean.Grand Councilwoman (resigned): Of course.
- Cool Starship:
- Jumba's ship, as well as the humongous vessel Gantu captains early in the movie.
- Stitch himself thinks that his stolen starship is cool, especially since he can use it to shut down the cruiser that's attacking him.
- Creepy Changing Painting: A fairly mellow version. As a Freeze-Frame Bonus, a poster in Nani's room has a surprised expression for a few frames after Stitch hits Jumba with a VW Beetle.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Nani has been locked out of the house, and screams to Lilo that if she doesn't let her in, she's going to purée her in the blender, bake her into a pie and feed it to the social worker... just as said social worker arrives.
Jumba: Running away? Here, let me stop you!
- When Lilo and Stitch are running from Jumba, he throws his grooming kit which is shaped like a Swiss army knife at them, with Pleakley closing the door just in time:
- Dark Is Not Evil: Bubbles is black and dresses in suits almost all the time, but he is a Reasonable Authority Figure, and while initially cold and unfriendly, he is a decent person.
- Death Glare:
- As soon as Cobra's out the door after his first visit, Nani gives one to Lilo. Cue an Oh, Crap!.
- Stitch and Gantu do this to each other near the end.
- Lilo gives one to Stitch when she learns he is an alien, and that he's the reason that they were being pursued by Jumba and Pleakley.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Lilo and Nani's family was a lot happier when their parents were alive, and their father was the person behind the ʻohana motto.
- Deer in the Headlights: Nani does this on the night she gets fired, when she's talking to David on the phone about Stitch. She stops dead when she finds Stitch taking a can of soda from the fridge.
- Department of Child Disservices: A somewhat more realistic portrayal of social services than is usual in fiction.Cobra: (unbending slightly) I realize that you're trying, Nani. But you need to think about what's best for Lilo. Even... if it removes you from the picture.
- Description Cut:Lilo: Maybe send me an angel! Send me the nicest angel you have.
(Cut to the demonic 626 emerging from the fiery wreckage of the "shooting star" she just wished on.)
- Destination Defenestration:
- Stitch actually throws Jumba out of a window near the end of the movie, right before hitting him with a VW Beetle.
- A bit later, he throws Gantu through the canopy of his own spaceship.
- Disney Villain Death: Averted. Gantu does fall after being tossed out of his own ship by Stitch, but he just lands on Jumba's.
- Does He Have a Brother?:
Councilwoman: A quiet capture would require an understanding of 626 that we do not possess! Who then, Mr. Pleakley, would you send for his extraction?
- A non-romantic example. Pleakley says this to the Grand Councilwoman:
Pleakley: ...Does he have a brother? (Councilwoman rolls her eyes) Close grandmother, perhaps?
- Eventually, the councilwoman decides to make Jumba clean up after himself since he knows all about his experiment.
- The Dog Is an Alien: Stitch pretends to be a dog despite looking more like a blue koala, as Nani notes.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You:Jumba: Don't make me shoot you. You were expensive.
- Don't Split Us Up: Lilo and Nani, and later, Lilo and Stitch.
- Door Slam of Rage: The argument between Lilo and Nani concludes with Nani ordering "Go to your room!" Lilo responds with, "I'm already in my room!" and a fervent slam of her room's door. Nani can only scream into a pillow in frustration.
- Drives Like Crazy: Stitch. He does this first at the beginning when he steals the police cruiser to escape custody, and again in the climax when he steals a gasoline truck, which he ends up driving into a volcano.
- Early-Bird Cameo: When Pleakley and the Grand Councilwoman step up to the elevator to Jumba's jail cell, you can see Dr. Hämsterviel or Dr. Habbitrale in one of the cells.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Yep, it's one of those "go-through-hell-and-back" films. Lilo starts off as a social outcast with her sister being her only trace of her family left, Stitch starts out a destructive alien with no purpose in life, and Nani starts out as an overworked woman struggling to raise Lilo, while trying to find a better job. By the end of the film, Lilo finally finds a companion in Stitch, Stitch finds a family in Lilo and Nani, while staying in Hawaii, and Nani and Lilo have a greater sisterly relationship than before.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: An intergalactic criminal is put on trial and given his sentence. When he escapes from the transport, the galactic conference watches in awe as the torn up ship descends on a certain protected nature reserve in a certain solar system. Also inverted; Earth is seen as uncivilized and only worth preserving for the endangered mosquito species.
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Although the invasion is never shown to have actually happened, Earth avoids invasion by being the natural habitat of a highly endangered species... mosquitoes. What's more, the decision was apparently based on the testimony of the Earth-native who tricked them, without even a basic survey done to see if it was true.
- Easter Egg: The fine print of the adoption pink slip refers to the film's production.Let it be known and stated in this, the fiftieth state of the union, on this, the 22nd day of September, 2001 that the Directors and Producers of the animated project LILO & STITCH (the "Picture") wish to recognize the hard work and amazing talent of the Florida Feature Animation Studio, including but not limited to, the artists, production management team and overhead departments, as well as acknowledge their meritorious service in conjunction with the production of the Picture. Additional recognition is given to California and Paris Feature Animation as well as our partners at Disney-MGM Studios for their participation and support during the making of Lilo & Stitch.
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Stitch has elements of this, though normally seeming to be a Speech-Impaired Animal when speaking English. Especially apparent in the movie's conclusion, Jumba even commenting on him making a good argument.
- Embarrassing Last Name: Cobra Bubbles. He's intimidating enough that nobody ever makes fun of him for it.
- Endangered Species: Averted: mosquitoes. The Men in Black convinced the Galactic Federation that mosquitoes were endangered to prevent alien interference. Apparently, this is the only thing that stopped them from gassing the entire planet when Stitch escaped here.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Jumba may refer to himself as an evil genius, but during his fight with Stitch at Lilo's house...Stitch: [speaks a Tantalog insult]Jumba: Oh! Leave my mother out of this!
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Jumba built Stitch to inflict panic and property damage For the Evulz, but his reaction when Stitch's first words are an (incomprehensible, alien) swearword suggests that he didn't intend to create a foul-mouthed menace to society.Jumba: I didn't teach it that.
- Brought up again later when Stitch uses Lilo as a human shield from him.Jumba: THIS IS LOW EVEN FOR YOU!
- Jumba built Stitch to inflict panic and property damage For the Evulz, but his reaction when Stitch's first words are an (incomprehensible, alien) swearword suggests that he didn't intend to create a foul-mouthed menace to society.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Grand Councilwoman is only ever referred to as that, never by her name, which is not revealed.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: A Rule of Funny variant: when Stitch is placed in a cell at the pound, all the actual dogs are so terrified that they display Amplified Animal Aptitude and hide in the rafters.
- Evil Genius: Jumba likes to think he's this, and prefers to be called one, rather than "idiot scientist". Prior to his HeelFace Turn near the end, he is kind of one, because he did create Stitch and intended for him to be a monster.
- Evil Is Hammy: "I prefer to be called EVIL GENIUS!"
- Evil Laugh: Stitch sounds quite unhinged.
- Explosion Propulsion: Stitch propels himself to Gantu's ship by driving a gasoline truck into a volcano, sitting on the tank and ripping a hole on the side so that it blows up. Good thing he has Nigh-Invulnerability, or else that would have been painful.
- Face Palm:
- After Stitch escapes from his confinement and goes to hyperdrive, Captain Gantu does this while saying, "Get me Galactic Control..."
- As Stitch, who can't swim, is crashing into the middle of the largest body of water, on some backwards frontier planet (called "E-arth"), the Grand Councilwoman and her staff are excited, figuring he's gonna perish in the crash, or sink to the bottom. Cue the appearance of a small island... and, trope.
- During the rescue of Lilo near the movie's climax, Nani expresses worry over the mission. Jumba reassures her that they are professionals... shortly before telling Stitch to spit something out. Nani responds with this trope.
- Failure Montage: The sequence of Nani looking for jobs after losing her job at the luau thanks to Stitch.
- Family of Choice: Their "family" is composed of two sisters, a reformed all-destroying monster, the (mostly) reformed creator of said monster and an incompetent bureaucrat knows:"ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind — or forgotten."
- Fanservice Extra: The blonde lifeguard girl only appears in one scene, but between her red once piece swimsuit and the way the camera frames her "assets" she's pretty well remembered (See Gainaxing below).
- Fanservice with a Smile: Nani's work outfit for the luau is nothing but a green floral-print bikini and green sandals, with a matching sarong that leaves one of her legs hanging out.
- Fatal Family Photo: Of the whole Pelekai family, that Lilo keeps under her pillow. Two of the corners get burned after Jumba's plasma cannon blows the house up. The last shot of the film shows the photo again, now with a photo of Stitch added to it, so it looks like he's sitting with them.
- Fat and Skinny: Jumba and Pleakley.
- The Federation: United Galactic Federation or Alliance depending on the movie/episode. Given that they would have destroyed Earth if not for mosquitoes supposedly being an endangered species, they have at least some traits of The Empire as well.
- Female Gaze: According to Lilo who had been reading Nanis diary, Nani likes Davids butt.
- Fictionary: While the movie contains plenty of Aliens Speaking English, it also has a fairly well-developed language of its own called Tantalog. Though only a few phrases have been fully translated on the series' website, there have been a few rather detailed online dictionaries made based on its usage in The Series.
- Fictional Fan, Real Celebrity: The titular characters are big fans of Elvis Presley. Several of his songs appear in the film.
- Finger in a Barrel: When Stitch steals Jumba's plasma pistol, Jumba jams a carrot in the barrel right as he fires. This causes the gun to go into an overload spiral, eventually exploding violently and leveling the house.
- Fingore: Stitch bites Gantu's finger when he is imprisoned at the start of the film, and during the hula class, Lilo bites Mertle's finger.
- First Pet Story: Lilo expects a dog to drink out of a baby bottle and sleep in a doll bed, and Nani is inclined to return him to the pound when things don't seem to be working out. Stitch, however, is not a normal pet, so most of the incidents in the movie are not consistent with what would happen getting a real dog.
- Flashback Nightmare: Lilo thinks Stitch is having these about his parents.Lilo: I hear you cry at night. Do you dream about them?
- Flight, Strength, Heart: Stitch has super strength, a hypercognitive brain (can learn any language, alien, human, or otherwise, in a very brief time period), agility, quick thinking — he's created to be a being of mass destruction. He can also act as a gramophone (stick a claw on a vinyl disc, open Stitch's mouth, and swing to the Elvis). And perfectly regurgitate a cake he just ate.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Jumba creates 626, who starts out as mischievous with super-strength, indestructibility, and computer-like intelligence, and Lilo gives him the name Stitch when she adopts him from the shelter. Later on, when Jumba invades Lilo's house, Stitch fiercely defends it along with Lilo, even though it gets destroyed in the process.
- Foreign Cuss Word: Played with. David exclaims "Auwe!" a few times, implying this trope, but "auwe" is fairly mild, roughly equivalent to "darn".
- Foreign Language Theme: Hawaiian, naturally.
- The Grand Councilwoman remarks that Stitch won't survive in water because his molecular density is too great. During the second surfing scene, he almost drowns, pulling Lilo under in the process, and has to be rescued by David.
- Soon after first arriving on Kauai, Stitch encounters a frog in the middle of the road and is then run over by three trucks. A similar scene occurs at the end of the film, but this time he intercepts the truck and hijacks it to save Lilo from Gantu.
- A subtle one — when Stitch is messing up Lilo's room, she gently places a white lei around his neck and he immediately fell down in a tranquil-like state. White lei represent love and Stitch would eventually become a better person by Lilo gently showing him platonic love.
- Free-Range Children:
- Lilo is about six years old, yet she runs about Kokaua Townnote with Stitch, and no adults.
- In one scene Nani simply hands Lilo some money and leaves her in the middle of town on her own while she's at work. Clearly there was a reason they sent in The Man When Things Go Wrong before Stitch came into the picture. Luckily, the whole ʻohana thing probably means Lilo has grown-up friends in the neighborhood looking out for her, but Nani is still pretty negligent, given that she's only about nineteen in the first film.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Stitch hits Jumba with the VW Beetle and knocks him into Nani's bed, over which hangs a poster of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku. When Stitch pins Jumba with the Beetle, Duke briefly has a shocked expression on his face, visible for only a fraction of a second.
- Friendless Background: Lilo has no real friends because every girl in her hula class picks on her and makes fun of her, especially Mertle Edmonds. She tries to convince that they're her friends, when she technically doesn't have any.
- Gainaxing: The female lifeguard who Nani attempts to get a job from has some restrained, yet noticeable, bouncing occur as soon as Stitch causes the panic on the beach.
- Gatling Good: The two genetically locked Plasma Cannons in Stitch's cell each have five rotating barrels, although they seem to be capable of shooting all their barrels at once. The red police cruiser also has one.
- Genius Bruiser:
- Jumba is smart enough to create an incredibly powerful genetic experiment, and strong enough to go toe to toe with said experiment in order to obtain amnesty for the crime of creating him. He did better against Stitch than a 20-foot tall whaleman who was an expert in combat.
- Stitch himself also qualifies, he can think faster than a supercomputer and can lift objects hundreds of times his own weight.
- Gentle Giant: Inverted with Stitch; short, destructive, and so doggone cute and fluffy to boot. The inversion is then subverted. While Stitch throws books and volleyballs at some of the human characters, and tosses one tourist into the air, he's surprisingly gentle for a creature of his strength, and lets Lilo and Nani manhandle him with no more than a token effort to get away. The main targets of his destructive abilities are inanimate objects or other aliens (who provoke him by attempting to capture or kill him). In the Photo Montage end credits, he's seen calmly shading a sea turtle with a palm frond and reading to a family of ducklings.
- George Jetson Job Security:
Gantu: Grand Councilwoman, let me explain!Grand Councilwoman: Silence! I am retiring you, Captain Gantu.
- Happens when Captain Gantu is forcibly retired:
Grand Councilwoman: Consider yourselves fired and prison-bound! Your incompetence is nothing short of unspeakable!
- And to Jumba and Pleakley:
- Get Out!: After seeing Stitch crash landing and mistaking it for a falling star, Lilo tells Nani to get out of her room so she can make a wish.
- After the house blows up and Stitch reveals his true form to an already-angry Lilo, she orders Stitch to do this. He never gets the chance, as a second later, Gantu captures them.
- Glasses Pull:
- Bubbles has shades on for most of the first visit, even while indoors, but takes them off towards the end when he tells Nani, "I am the one they call when things go wrong. And things have indeed gone wrong."
- He does it again when talking to the Grand Councilwoman at the end.
- Good-Times Montage: The film ends with one, showing Lilo, Nani, Stitch, Jumba and Pleakley enjoying their new life together as a family.
- Go to Your Room!: When Nani tries this line, Lilo retorts "I'm already in my room!"
- Grenade Hot Potato: Stitch and Jumba do this with a malfunctioning plasma gun. As they toss it back and forth, they actually say "One potato, two potato..." Ironically, Jumba is happy that he won.
- Grey-and-Gray Morality: Rather unusually for a Disney film, there are no straightforwardly evil characters. Gantu is a jerk, but he is also a law enforcement officer pursuing a dangerous criminal. Cobra Bubbles is sinister, but also genuinely concerned for Lilo's well-being. The Grand Councilwoman fulfills the role of a Big Bad (in terms of sending her lieutenant Gantu to Earth to hunt down the protagonist), but in terms of personality she's closer to a Reasonable Authority Figure. The most straightforwardly dislikable characters in the movie are Mertle and her friends, and their presence in the film is minimal compared to the sequel material.
- Hand Gagging: Nani does this to Lilo near the beginning, and shortly after wraps her entire arm around her mouth as well.
- Hate Sink: Terrifying as he is, you can't hate Gantu, as he's a dutiful stick-in-the-mud fulfilling his goals in the name of the Galactic Council. Fortunately, Mertle Edmonds and her posse are more than willing to step up to the plate as targets for the audience's hatred.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Lilo.
- The Heavy: Captain Gantu.
- Cobra Bubbles is the one they send when Things Have Gone Wrong and was once a government agent keeping the Earth safe from alien extermination.
- Head Desk: Stitch does this when he's in the pound, and actually knocks a brick out of place because of how strong he is.
- Heal the Cutie: Neither Lilo nor Stitch were straight examples of The Cutie at first; the former was a bit too bratty, and the latter far too destructive. However, much of this is born out of the former's naivete and the latter's programming. As the two realize the consequences of their actions and the gravity of their situation, they become quite saddened and broken indeed. In the end, they nevertheless find their happy ending together, to become a caring, loving, adorable family.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Lilo tries to make Stitch a model citizen by making him be like Elvis. It seems to work at first, with him being a decent music player. Then he gets swarmed with fans and he becomes aggressive once more.
- HeelFace Turn: Stitch, then Jumba who has something of a Punch-Clock Villain in him, though perhaps a bit of a reversed one. In fact, Chris Sanders himself summarized the film as "a story about a villain who becomes a hero."
- Heroes Gone Fishing:
- David surfs in his downtime, and when he sees how gloomy Nani and Lilo are after the Failure Montage, he cheers them up by asking if they want to join him. They do, and Stitch tags along as well.
- Most of the montage at the end, showing the characters doing this.
- Hero of Another Story: Bubbles is implied to be a member of The Men in Black, and once saved the world by convincing aliens that mosquitoes were endangered.
- Hero Stole My Bike: Stitch hijacks a gasoline truck in the climax. And before that, he stole Mertle's tricycle.
- Historical Figures in Archival Media: Lilo happens to own a real photograph of Elvis Presley, shown when she is using Presley for teaching Stitch how to be a model citizen.
- Hollywood Density: Stitch is too dense to be able to swim, yet David and six-year-old Lilo are able to pick him up with no more effort than they might expend lifting a corgi. Oddly not as unrealistic as it looks, since the basset hound is a real-life example of a dog too dense to swim more than a very short distance. While a strong swimmer like David should be able to rescue him; Lilo's ability to carry him is a little more far-fetched (bassets weigh 35 to 50 pounds, nearly as much as Lilo herself should weigh).
- Hollywood Voodoo: Lilo makes Voodoo Dolls of the other girls and dunks them in pickle juice, blithely explaining that "my friends need to be punished".
- Homage Shot: A shot of Stitch walking away in a path surrounded by foliage that is taken directly from the 1939 Silly Symphony short The Ugly Duckling. An earlier scene has him by the road under the rain while a frog sits by him, in reference to the bus stop scene in Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.
- Hope Spot: Just when Nani's situation starts to take a turn for the better when David finds her a job, Stitch seeks refuge in Lilo's home with Jumba hot on his trail, and it gets blown to smithereens. To make matters worse, as soon as Cobra Bubbles responds to the emergency call from Lilo, he takes Lilo into protective custody due to her life being jeopardized by Jumba and Stitch whose invasion of the home treats it like a battlefield and causes massive property damage.
- Hot Potato: Jumba and Stitch with a plugged plasma gun about to overload. Jumba eventually loses track and shouts "I win!" when he's saddled with the gun.
- Hula and Luaus: Justified; Nani works in one of those tiki-tacky tourist places, until she gets fired.
- Humans Are Morons: Discussed:Councilwoman: Are they intelligent?
Pleakley: No, but very delicate. In fact every time an asteroid strikes their planet they have to begin life all over.
Councilwoman: What if our troops just landed there?
Pleakley: That would be a BAD IDEA! These are extremely simple creatures here Miss. Landing there would cause mass mayhem and planet-wide panic!
- Humans Are Special: Averted at first, then played straight through the concept of ʻohana.
- Improvised Weapon: Both Stitch and Jumba in their fight. In particular, Stitch uses a doll as a bomb and Jumba constructs a throwing weapon out of a comb, a toothbrush, a hairbrush and some toothpaste. Also used are cutlery, a VW Beetle, and a chainsaw.
- Infrared Xray Camera: Jumba tracks Stitch inside a dog pound via a pair of infrared binoculars.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Earth is considered quite insignificant, but is left alone by the aliens primarily because they have declared it a protected wildlife sanctuary for mosquitoes (since humans are a major food source for mosquitoes, that means humans are also protected). That was a bit of a diplomatic coup by the black ops division charged with dealing with aliens.
- Insistent Terminology: Jumba does not appreciate being called an "idiot scientist".Jumba: I prefer to be called evil genius!
- Inspector Javert: Captain Gantu, the closest thing to a villain in the story, who is initially only trying to recapture a dangerous, escaped experiment. A mixture of his callous tactics (he knows he's captured Lilo in the same container as Stitch and implies that he falsely believes that Stitch might eat her, yet he leaves her in there anyway) and the Galactic Federation's zero tolerance for failure causes him to be court-martialed, after which he spends The Series as an actual villain before being reinstated.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: While on trial, Dr. Jumba insists that all his genetic research has been only been theoretical, and he has not been creating new lifeforms. Cue the council bringing out Experiment 626 as evidence.Jumba: I would never, ever... (sees 626)... make more than one.
- Insult to Rocks: After Cobra's social services visit doesn't go as well as Nani hoped it would, Nani and Lilo have a heated argument:Nani: Oh, you are such a pain!
Lilo: Then why don't you sell me and buy a rabbit instead?
Nani: At least a rabbit would behave better than you!
Lilo: Good! Then you'll be happy 'cause it'll be smarter than me, too!
Nani: And quieter!
Lilo: You'll like it 'cause it's stinky like you!
- iSophagus: A variation of this trope. Stitch doesn't swallow Lilo's record player. However, if you put his claw on the record, it works as a needle, and if you open his mouth, he becomes a phonograph.
- Stitch is a huge one at the start of the film, which is exactly what Jumba designed him to be. It's implied that Stitch is, at first, an even bigger asshole than Jumba intended, to the point where he's willing to use a little girl as a Human Shield. However, he becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold after his Character Development.
- Mertle as well. She picks on Lilo despite probably knowing Lilo is an orphan and doesn't have many friends, refuses to play games with her and rejects Lilo's sincere apology for attacking her. She even implies she would run Lilo down with her tricycle after said apology if she doesn't get out of the way quickly enough.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Cobra Bubbles. He comes across as cold, unfriendly and hostile initially, but he is a Reasonable Authority Figure who wants what's best for Lilo and Nani, and warms up a bit over time. He's also seen participating in some of the activities in the final montage, such as attending Lilo's birthday party.
- Stitch becomes one after his Character Development. He's still often aggressive and tempermental, but he becomes much more sensitive, empathetic and fun-loving after the ordeal.
- Karma Houdini: And far as we know, Lilo and Stitch don't suffer any repercussions for stealing Mertle's tricycle. Not only that, considering they're seen riding the tricycle in some episodes of The Series, Mertle never got it back, either. (Although considering that she has one of the same model and color scheme in Stitch! The Movie, it's just as likely that her mother just bought her a new one.)
- Kick the Son of a Bitch:
- While Stitch is held upside-down on the prison ship, Gantu tells him that the guns pointed at him won't shoot anyone but him. Stitch simply growls and bites Gantu's finger.
- Stitch does this again when he steals Mertle's tricycle.
- Kill It with Water: While water itself isn't deadly to Stitch, he can't swim and is too heavy to remain buoyant even in salt water. Naturally, he winds up on the most isolated chain of islands in the world.
- Knuckle Tattoos: Mr. Bubbles, who has "Cobra" (his first name) tattooed on his knuckles. One of the few examples to use the thumb.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Mertle gets her tricycle stolen by Stitch after she rejects Lilo's apology (Lilo had attacked Mertle the day before for calling Lilo crazy).
- Last-Second Word Swap: This is combo-ed with a Right Behind Me moment:Nani: You are so finished when I get in there! I'm gonna stuff you in the blender, push "puree", then bake you into a pie and feed it to the social worker! And when he says, "Mmmm, this is great, what's your secret?" I'm gonna say... [Bubbles hooks Nani's foot, and pulls her out of the dog door] "...love! And...nurturing."
- Law of Chromatic Superiority:"He's taken a police cruiser!"
"Yeah, he took the red one."
- Let's Get Out of Here: Pleakley, realising Jumba's gun will explode after it gets jammed with a carrot, grabs Lilo and runs out of the house to get her out of harm's way. Sure enough, the gun does explode and the explosion blows the house to bits.
- Like a Surgeon: the titular characters need to distract Jumba, who is invading their home, so Stitch implants a bomb in Lilo's doll. Lilo holds a scuba diving regulator to the doll's face, mimicking an anesthetic mask. As Stitch holds out his hand for tools, Lilo hands Stitch pliers and a screwdriver while announcing what the tools are.
- Little "No":
- The Grand Councilwoman when she sees Stitch's police cruiser will land on an island instead of crashing into the sea as she had initially hoped it would.
- Nani, after seeing a fire engine speed past with its siren wailing, and it turns left to go towards the house.
- Living Weapon: What Stitch was designed to be.
- Logo Joke: The Disney castle is supposedly abducted by a flying saucer.
- Logical Weakness: Stitch not being able to swim due to his density, which plays a part in the plot several times.
- Lonely Doll Girl: Lilo has one home-made doll, whose appearance freaks out the other girls. Later she is seen making Voodoo Dolls of her friends and dipping them in pickle juice. ("My friends need to be punished.")
- Loophole Abuse:
- The guns in Stitch's cell are locked into his genetic signature and will only aim at him. His saliva also contains his genetic signature, which he uses to his advantage by spitting on a guard and getting the guns to aim at him instead.
- At the end of the film, as Stitch is about to be taken away by the Grand Councilwoman, Lilo shows her Stitch's adoption papers, proving that Lilo owns him and the Federation taking him would be stealing. Therefore, the Grand Councilwoman orders Stitch to live out his sentence in exile on Earth with his one true family.
- Loud Gulp: Pleakley gives a very visible gulp after dodging a door-piercing Improvised Weapon thrown by Jumba (who was aiming at Stitch but missed).
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Jumba Jookiba. He prefers being called "Evil Genius".
- Malicious Misnaming: The Grand Councilwoman calls Jumba and Pleakley "Jumba and Blinkey" after firing them for not recovering Stitch quickly enough for her. Gantu corrects her, and she reacts with "Whatever!"
- Man Bites Man:
- Stitch is not averse to using his fangs when fighting, at one point cramming Pleakley's whole head into his mouth and biting down so hard it crunched. Repeatedly. Ouch.
- Lilo has no qualms about biting other people, as Mertle learns the hard way when she calls Lilo crazy.
- Meaningful Echo:
- "ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind — or forgotten." Said first by Lilo, stopping Nani from taking Stitch back to the shelter and, without realizing it, saving his life. Then later, said by Stitch when he breaks Lilo out of Gantu's prison case.Lilo: You came back...
Stitch: Nobody gets left behind.
- "ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind — or forgotten." Said first by Lilo, stopping Nani from taking Stitch back to the shelter and, without realizing it, saving his life. Then later, said by Stitch when he breaks Lilo out of Gantu's prison case.
- Meaningful Name:
- Stitch; if something is ripped apart you fix it with a stitch.
- Stitch is also informally interchangeable with the term splicing in some circumstances, such as gene-splicing used to create new creatures, due to the creation methodology of pre-genetic scientific knowledge and mad scientists' creations (stitching parts together).
- Stitch is also an informal term for a surgical suture, a medical device used to close wounds in body tissue. Lilo is looking towards Stitch to close the psychological wound left behind by the death of her and Nani's parents.
- Jumba, who's a big guy.
- Stitch; if something is ripped apart you fix it with a stitch.
- The Men in Black: Subverted with Cobra Bubbles, who dresses like a Man in Black despite being only a social worker making sure Nani takes care of Lilo. This becomes a Double Subversion at the end of the movie, when we discover that he used to be a CIA agent responsible for dealing with alien visitors.
- Midair Collision: Jumba actually does this to Gantu at the end with his spaceship (originally a stolen passenger jet) so that Stitch can rescue Lilo.
- The Millstone: Stitch for most of the film is this to Lilo and Nani. He gets Nani fired from her job by attacking Pleakley, accidentally makes it appear like he tried to drown Lilo while trying to escape from Jumba and Pleakley, and indirectly causes the house to be blown up. After that one, Lilo bitterly tells him that he ruined everything, even after he had done all he could to protect her. Then, when he reveals his true form to her seconds later, she angrily shoves him and tells him to go away. When they're then captured by Gantu and he escapes, he convinces Jumba to help him save Lilo and stop Gantu, redeeming himself.
- Miming the Cues: Nani gives signals to Lilo when the social worker, Cobra Bubbles, asks Lilo how well Nani is taking care of her. Lilo correctly understands the "brushing teeth" and "looking both ways before crossing the street" gestures, but (possibly intentionally) misinterprets Nani's
triumphant gesture of approvalgrow strong gesture as "getting disciplined", and the following "stop" gesture as "five times a day".
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Mrs. Hasagawa, the fruit lady. She's barely as tall as Stitch.
- Morality Pet: Lilo is this to Stitch, despite Stitch being to be a pet, making this an odd case. Lilo is the only character who puts up with Stitch, up until he reveals his true form to her.
- Ms. Fanservice:
- Nani spends almost all of the movie either in cutoffs or a bikini. Somewhat justified by the warm tropical climate, and her most Fanservice-y outfit is for her job at a Hawaiian tourist trap restaurant.
- Also, the blonde lifeguard (who is essentially Nani with a darker tan in a red one-piece).
- Monster and the Maiden: The main characters of the movie are a human girl named Lilo and an alien named Stitch. While the intentions Lilo has towards Stitch are pure and clear from the start (she wants to befriend him with no ulterior motives), Stitch wants to use Lilo as a human shield to protect himself from his creator, who wants to capture him. After spending more time with Lilo, Stitch comes to genuinely care for her and see her as a friend and family member.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Part of the reason why this is a dramedy film. On the one hand, you have wacky slapstick alien antics. On the other, the ever-present threat of Lilo being taken away from her sister.
- In the span of a few seconds, the mood goes from hopeful as David and Nani run off to the store where it seems David has found Nani a job, to frantic as Jumba chases Stitch towards the house, firing his gun at him.
- In particular, when Lilo's house gets wrecked by Jumba and Stitch's fight, it's played for laughs. When Nani and Cobra Bubbles arrive on the scene afterwards and fire crews are extinguishing the mess, it's not.
- In a similar vein, it's easy to forget what comes after the iconic "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" scene; Jumba's interference nearly causes Lilo and Stitch to drown, which ends up being the moment at which Cobra Bubbles crosses the Despair Event Horizon and tells Nani point-blank that she'd have to remove herself from the picture for Lilo's sake.
- Mook Horror Show: Stitch's escape from custody plays out like this.
- Multilingual Song: "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" features lyrics in Hawaiian and English.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Stitch has one on the beach after seeing that his actions will cause Lilo to be taken away from Nani. He decides to leave that evening.
- My God, You Are Serious!: When Pleakley and the Grand Councilwoman are discussing Jumba in his prison cell:Pleakley: But it's a delicate planet! Who's going to control him?
Councilwoman: You are. (walks away)
Pleakley: (laughs) Very funny, your highness, that's quite— (sees that she's gone) YOU'RE NOT JOKING!
- My Parents Are Dead: Lilo and Nani's parents are not present due to being killed in a car accident, and it is all but stated that they're dead (see Never Say "Die" below).
- Name and Name: The name of the film and the franchise that spawned from it is probably one of the most famous examples of this trope. A poster from the second Blu-ray release even provides the page image.
- Never Say "Die":
Lilo: That's us before...it was rainy, and they went for a drive.
- The second time Lilo sees the photo of her family, she reveals how she lost her parents this way:
- Averted earlier, as Lilo tells Nani "Leave me alone to die" while listening to "Heartbreak Hotel".
- Net Gun: Captain Gantu bags both titular characters with a net gun. His target was Experiment 626, a.k.a. Stitch; Lilo was an incidental capture that Gantu regards as "a little snack". Notably, Stitch is unable to break this netting despite his inordinate strength.
- Never Trust a Trailer: In the scene where Lilo uses Stitch to play records, trailers and promos show him playing "Hound Dog". In the actual film, he plays "Suspicious Minds" instead, while "Hound Dog" comes later in Jumba and Stitch's fight.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Grand Councilwoman firing Pleakley and Jumba for their repeated failed attempts to capture Stitch proves to be unwise in the long run, as it allows to Jumba to abandon protocol and attack Stitch in the open with humans in the vicinity. This in turn leads to a chain of events that ends with Lilo and Nani's house being destroyed, which ruins Nani's one last Hope Spot to prevent Lilo from being taken by the social workers.
- Nigh-Invulnerable: Stitch. "Maybe direct hit from plasma cannon might stun him long enough to..." It took being run over by three tractor-trailers in a row to knock him unconscious, and his dense body gave them quite a shake, too.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Lilo practices voodoo, owns a handmade doll that she pretends has a bug-infested skull, and is generally considered a freak by her peers. She also enjoys having a dog that is capable of talking even though the other animals at the pound are clearly terrified of him. Her only true friends turn out to be from outer space, including the dog, who is actually a genetic experiment created by an alien scientist.
- No Antagonist: More like "No Single Main Antagonist." The characters who act as antagonists in this film are the Grand Councilwoman (who is actually a Big Good Reasonable Authority Figure), Captain Gantu (a Hero Antagonist whose only real crimes are his recklessness and his lack of ethics in how he handled Lilo), Cobra Bubbles (a former CIA agent turned social worker who's only doing his job), Mertle Edmonds (just a mean little girl who actually does have some justification in being wary of Lilo), and Jumba and Pleakley (Those Two Guys who are the most frequent antagonists for most of the film). None of them can be considered villains, and the only characters described as "evil" at all are Jumba, a Laughably Evil self-described "evil genius" who is technically Stitch's father and makes a HeelFace Turn, and Stitch, the "evil experiment" who is subject to Love Redeems and is one of the Main Characters.
- No-Harm Requirement:
- Doctor Jookiba is sent to Earth to covertly retrieve his escaped prototype, who is masquerading as Lilo's dog. Though he wields a plasma gun, Jookiba advises Stitch to come quietly: "Don't make me shoot you; you were expensive." The covert part goes out the window in short order.
- Earlier, the Grand Councilwoman considers gassing the planet Experiment 626 landed on, until Agent Pleakley reminds her that Earth has been designated a wildlife reserve for an endangered species - the mosquito. When 626 is adopted by Lilo, Pleakley stops Jumba from shooting at him because the girl is "a part of the mosquito food chain." Jumba realizes that 626 is using Lilo as a Human Shield, declaring that "this is low even for you!" Later, it's revealed that the whole "mosquitoes are endangered" bit was a ploy by Cobra Bubbles to save Earth from alien invasion.
- No Intelligent Life Here: Upon discovering that the titular alien experiment has landed on an isolated island — Kauai:Grand Councilwoman: Can we not simply destroy the island?
Pleakley: NO, crazyhead! The mosquito's food of choice, primitive humanoid lifeforms, have colonies all over that planet.
Grand Councilwoman: Are they intelligent?
Pleakley: No. But they're very delicate. In fact, every time an asteroid strikes their planet, they have to begin life all over. Fascinating, isn't it?*
- Noodle Incident:
- This conversation between the sisters when Lilo forces Nani out of her room to make a wish:Nani: Oh no! Gravity is increasing upon me!
Lilo: It is not!
Nani: Is too, Lilo. The same thing happened yesterday.
- Exactly why Lilo and Nani's parents decided to go out for a dive on rainy day is a complete mystery.
- This conversation between the sisters when Lilo forces Nani out of her room to make a wish:
- Nostalgia Filter: Actually got invoked by Disney's marketing department. As shown in the theatrical release poster and the ""Inter-Stitch-al" " trailers, Lilo & Stitch got marketed by spoofing Disney's more popular films from the Disney Renaissance. It worked, with Lilo & Stitch becoming a Cash Cow Franchise—at least for the decade—and Stitch becoming Disney's first iconic character who debuted in the 21st Century.
- Non-Verbal Miscommunication: During Cobra Bubbles' visit, Nani prompts Lilo what to say by gesturing behind his back. It goes well until she misinterprets an enthusiastic gesture, a five-finger "stop" reaction, and a face palm as "I get... disciplined? Five times a day, with bricks!"
- No One Gets Left Behind: ...or forgotten. Granted, the line is "nobody", not "no one", but still the ʻohana motto provides the trope's page quote.
- Not What It Looks Like: Nani believes Stitch is biting an innocent woman's head out of aggression when he is in fact trying to defend himself from being kidnapped.
- No Wrong Answers Except That One: When going to the dog pound, Lilo doesn't find any dogs except Stitch, an alien masquerading as a dog who has frightened away all the animals. Seeing her exit with the creepy-looking beastie forces the dog pound clerk to immediately eat her words.Clerk: All our dogs are adoptable... (sees Lilo with Stitch) -EXCEPT THAT ONE!!
- Nuke 'em: Once the Grand Councilwoman learns that Stitch will survive his fall into Earth by landing on Hawaii, she very quickly and decisively decides to utilize a gas weapon on the entire planet in order to kill him. Luckily for all involved, Agent Pleakley dissuades her from this course of action, arguing that Earth is a wildlife preserve for the "endangered mosquito population". She then tries again on a much smaller scale suggesting that she simply destroy the island Stitch landed on. Pleakley once again dissuades her from this seeing as how it would destroy the mosquito's source of food (humans) and disrupt the ecosystem.
- Number of the Beast: Stitch's original ID number was 666 until Executive Meddling forced Chris Sanders to change the number. It still is, in a way, since Stitch's number is 626 (6 and 2 6's).
- #1 Dime: Lilo's photograph of her parents who were killed in a car accident.
- Odd Couple: Boisterous evil genius Jumba and meek, kindly scholar Pleakley.
- Off-Model: Jumba's head in some of the scenes, especially near the end. Mainly because the ending had to be changed at the last minute, and they had to rush it through animation to make their deadline.
- Oh, Crap!:
- The guard in Stitch's cell when he spits on the guard's hat and the guns point at him. He manages to duck out of the hat before the guns blast it.
- Nani when Lilo misinterprets her hand gesture of a fist (possibly deliberately) behind Bubbles's back.
- After Bubbles's first visit, Nani throws a Death Glare at Lilo. Lilo's reaction is this trope, accompanied with a scream.
- Nani after opening the door to Bubbles the morning after she loses her job.
- Funny example. Pleakley gets one when he's swarmed by mosquitoes and suddenly realizes they're not as cute as he thinks. Cut away to an aerial view and a Skyward Scream.
- During the second surfing session, Stitch gets one just before he, Nani and Lilo surf down a huge wave. He screams as they surf down it.
- Stitch has one the morning after he leaves Lilo when he wakes up and Jumba emerges from the undergrowth. Stitch has another one at the end of the scene when Jumba tells him he will be taken apart. Upon hearing that, he runs.
- After the house is blown up, Nani has one after seeing a fire engine turn left to go towards the house, right after she had hoped out loud that it wouldn't.
- Only One Name:
- Played straight in the film with Pleakley (ignoring his rank of "Agent"), but subverted for the franchise overall. His first name (as revealed in The Series) is Wendy.
- Gantu (ignoring his rank of "Captain") is the only major non-experiment character who plays this completely straight, both in the film and throughout the franchise.
- Only Six Faces: All Hawaiian girls look alike. Most noticeably in the dance scene during the opening credits, where if you watch carefully, you'll notice one and the same girl is used for other dancers.
- Orc Raised by Elves: Stitch being adopted by Lilo is this. As he spends time with her, he forms emotional bonds with her to the point where he will protect Lilo from other menaces, like the Mad Scientist who created him.
- Out of Focus: Stitch disappears for a little while at the start of the film after he puts the police cruiser into hyperdrive to escape. He doesn't appear again until after Nani and Lilo see him crash land.
- Out of the Frying Pan: After the house blows up, it looks like Bubbles is going to take Lilo away from Nani. Lilo gets out of the car and runs away, and ends up getting captured by Gantu.
- Outrun the Fireball: Pleakley outrunning the house explosion with Lilo in his arms.
- Palette-Swapped Alien Food: Jumba and Pleakley attempt to bait Stitch with what appears to be an ordinary chicken drumstick... which is also bright green, and covered in purple spots. It's called an "alien toe" in the PS2 Stitch: Experiment 626 tie-in prequel game.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- Agent Pleakley. See Wholesome Crossdresser below.
- Jumba too. Though he wears sunglasses, they don't come close to hiding his second pair of eyes.
- Pardon My Klingon:
- Captain Gantu is fond of using the oath "Oh, blitznak!"
- Stitch himself, when brought before the Galactic Council and asked to prove his intelligence, utters a string of words that is left untranslated from a gibberish-sounding "alien" language (officially called the Tantalog language), although its profane content is clear from the shocked gasps of the hearers. Stitch's statement is so vulgar, a robot vomits. This trope probably was used to leave what Stitch said deliberately to the imagination, as there isn't much in the way of utterances left that would inspire such reactions from contemporary 21st century viewers. Supplementary material from the sequels later revealed that the phrase he said, "Meega, nala kweesta!" means, "I want to destroy!"
- During the fight with Jumba, Stitch says something in the alien language and Jumba tells him to leave his mother out of it.
- Parental Abandonment: As usual, for a Disney movie; they died in a car crash before the story began.
- Parental Bonus:
- The movie does a lot of referencing Elvis Presley (Lilo's a big fan), right down to having half the soundtrack be his songs. There's even a montage of scenes where they try to bring it down to the level of kid viewers by having Lilo try to teach Stitch how to be more like Elvis.
- At one point when Stitch is misbehaving by destroying things, as he approaches and rips a painting by Lilo, she protests, "that's from my Blue Period!", a reference to Picasso.
- Parent Service: The blonde lifeguard girl from whom Nani tries to get a job has a prominently framed shot of her ass in a tight one-piece swimsuit. It's not even remotely subtle.
- Parents as People: Nani is Lilo's older sister and legal guardian following the death of their parents. She is easily frustrated by Lilo's antics, and the two get in several fights over the course of the film as Nani is constantly bearing the brunt of her sister's actions (such as losing several job opportunities). That said, she still loves Lilo a lot and demonstrates it many times, and her own actions are the result of someone trying to be a mother and responsible adult, and her frustration is tempered by seeing her struggle desperately to help keep Lilo from being taken by Social Services.
- Patrick Stewart Speech: Stitch gives one to the Grand Councilwoman before he boards the ship:Stitch: This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah. Still good.
- Pet Monstrosity: Stitch (although don't let Jumba hear you call him a monstrosity).
- Pet the Dog:
- When Lilo first meets Stitch and she greets him, he says "Hi" back and hugs her, to her surprise.
- When the Grand Councilwoman announces Stitch's sentence to permanent exile, she says it shall be "a sentence that shall henceforth be served on Earth." Bonus points for Stitch being mistaken for a dog early in the film.
- A moment which Cobra Bubbles and Pleakley join in on - Pleakley is the first to ask if Stitch really couldn't just be left with them after cursing Stitch and the planet for causing him so many problems, while Cobra Bubbles is the first to realize the ownership loophole and helps Nani and Lilo get back on their feet during the credits.
- Despite being quite nuts and The Heavy for the majority of the film, Jumba has a few moments where he's surprisingly compassionate even before he changes sides. At one point, he attempts to gently persuade Stitch to relinquish himself to his custody (it doesn't work, but he still connects with him somewhat), and when Nani is confronting them about Lilo being kidnapped by Gantu, Jumba gives her the bad news a lot more gently than Pleakley was going to (stopping Pleakley from doing so in the process) and attempts to stop Stitch from doing what he thinks is bothering her afterwards.
- Photo Montage: The end credits has a "pictures on the wall"-style Photo Montage, showing off what all the characters do after the end of the movie (presumably before all the sequel material happen, and it's quite a lot before the events of Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch). There's several Shout Outs in the pictures, including to a famous Norman Rockwell painting.
- Plasma Cannon: Jumba states that a direct hit from a plasma cannon might be able to stun 626 temporarily. Instead, it explodes and burns down Lilo's house. Oops.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Lilo and Stitch become this at the end of the film.
- Please, Don't Leave Me: After Gantu blasts Stitch off his ship and then misses his shot at him, Lilo sees Stitch through the glass of her prison and says, "Don't leave me, OK?" Stitch replies, "OK," but sees no way to save her... until a truck drives towards him.
- Poke the Poodle: Jumba designs a nigh-invulnerable monster to be an unstoppable force of... naughtiness.Jumba: ...he will reverse road signs, back up sewers, and steal everyone's left shoe.
- The Power of Family: When Lilo and Stitch get captured by Captain Gantu, Stitch is able to escape the capsule before takeoff. Rather than abandon Lilo and secure his own freedom, however, Stitch recruits his nemeses, Jumba Jookiba and Pleakley, in a rescue mission to recover Lilo. Imagine Lilo's surprise when Stitch returns, shatters a hole in the capsule and frees her.Lilo: You came back.
Stitch: Nobody gets left behind.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Dueling ones with Gantu and Stitch.Gantu: Abomination!
- Precious Photo: Lilo keeps a picture of her dead parents under her pillow. She gets angry at Stitch when he touches it, and when his fight with Jumba destroys her house and Stitch returns the scorched picture, Lilo rejects him and tells him to go away.
- Precision Crash: Lampshaded. The aliens are relieved to see that Stitch is plummeting toward the open ocean, only to react in horror when they see that he's headed directly for the single tiny cluster of islands in the middle of the sea. The trope is subverted, however, in the sense that Hawaii is possibly the least convenient place for Stitch to unleash a reign of terror:Lilo: It's nice to live on an island with no large cities.
(Stitch throws a convulsive fit.)
- Prolonged Prologue: A full ten minutes go by, dealing with Stitch's imprisonment and escape, before we shift to Hawaii and the opening title/credits.
- Promotion to Parent: Nani, who struggles to balance out her job, social workers, the loss of her parents, Lilo's strange coping methods, and Stitch. Lilo admits that she likes her more as a sister than a mom (done realistically; Nani is young, she has an Annoying Younger Sibling, and is trying to balance it all out).
- Protected by a Child: Stitch initially uses Lilo as a human shield.
- Puni Plush: The character designers were explicitly told to avoid straight lines and harsh angles, and rectangular objects have dulled corners, probably as a deliberate contrast with the then-rampant abuse of straight lines in Western animation. This becomes somewhat more amusing when the creator's DeviantArt page is viewed, which continues the same style, but includes artistic nudes and 1950s style pinups with a Hawaiian theme.
- Recruiting the Criminal: To catch the dangerous genetic experiment, the Intergalactic Alliance sends the Mad Scientist who created him, since he's the only one who knows how to defeat him.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- The Grand Councilwoman is rather reasonable for being the head of the Galactic Federation, although like most aliens, she believes Pleakley when he tells her to spare Earth from destruction because mosquitoes are endangered. She's also willing to give Stitch a chance to speak for himself when he's initially introduced at Jumba's trial, rather than outright condemning him. Then at the end of the film, she expresses regret at having to take Stitch in after he's shown to have calmed down and matured somewhat, and seems rather satisfied when Lilo provides a loophole as to why the Grand Councilwoman can't take Stitch.
- Cobra Bubbles serves as an antagonist, but he's by no means a bad person. He clearly doesn't want to take Lilo away from Nani in spite of a mountain of (inaccurate) evidence that she can't really handle Lilo, and gives her every chance in his power for her to prove she can turn things around which makes it all the more heartbreaking when he gives up and decides he's got no choice but to take Lilo away. Later on, after Stitch rescues Lilo, he tells the Grand Councilwoman that his newfound family may be a bit dysfunctional, but they still have a number of redeeming qualities. At the end, Cobra reminds Lilo that she purchased Stitch from the shelter, and Lilo produces the ownership papers, which clarifies that Lilo is Stitch's adopter and guardian.
- Red Is Heroic:
- Inverted with the red police cruiser Stitch steals to escape from the Galactic Federation, as he is a Villain Protagonist at this point. The same applies for the red jumpsuit he wears until he gets hit by three trucks.
- Played straight with the mostly red mu'umu'u Lilo wears throughout the film.
- Red Ones Go Faster: Stitch escapes custody by stealing a specifically-colored space police cruiser. It gets destroyed when he crash lands on Earth, though.
- Rejected Apology: Lilo tries to apologize to Mertle for attacking her, but she rejects it.
- Retractable Appendages: Stitch's antennae, back spikes and extra arms. The scene when he first does this in the animal shelter provides the page image.
- Revised Ending: The original ending featured the aliens hijacking a plane, but that was scrapped after 9/11.
- Rewatch Bonus: Upon first viewing, when Lilo says she feeds Pudge the fish a peanut butter sandwich because he "controls the weather", viewers assume she's being crazy as an Establishing Character Moment. However, this becomes melancholic later on as there's reason behind it: Lilo's parents died in a car accident during a rainstorm.
- Not only that, but on apparent rewatching, pay close attention to the sky above Lilo after she gives Pudge his sandwich: the clouds that were gathering gradually disperse. Lilo may be right.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: When he is not being aggressive or mischievous, Stitch is absolutely adorable.
- Road Sign Reversal: Jumba says that Stitch's programming will draw him to large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everybody's left shoe.
- Roswell That Ends Well: Cobra Bubbles is revealed to have saved the Earth from aliens by convincing them mosquitoes were an endangered species; this occurred at Roswell... in 1973.
- Rousseau Was Right
- Rule of Three:
- After a failed social counseling inspection, Cobra Bubbles gives Nani three days for a second one to prove herself a competent guardian to Lilo.
- Soon after crash-landing on Earth, Stitch gets run over by three trucks, one after the other.
- The fat man trying to eat his mint chocolate chip ice cream fails three times. The first time, Lilo takes a picture of him and the ice cream falls off the cone. The second time is during Stitch's rampage on the beach while Nani is applying for a lifeguard job. As people run for it, one bumps into the man and he again loses his ice cream. The third is during the climax, when the ice cream is knocked out of the man's hand by the wing of Jumba's spaceship. Yes, really.
- Rules Lawyer: When the Grand Councilwoman tries to take Stitch, Lilo shows her the dog license that she bought when she adopted Stitch, meaning that the GCW would be stealing her property. Cobra Bubbles, who had worked with aliens before, mentions that "aliens are all about rules."
- Running Gag: The guy whose ice cream always falls off its cone before he can eat it.
- Safety in Muggles:
- Jumba can't open fire on Stitch because of his close company with Lilo. He enjoys reminding Stitch of it though, when he revealed the handle of his plasma weapon from inside a paper sack. This is because Cobra Bubbles once convinced some aliens that humans should be protected (he claimed that mosquitoes are an endangered species, and that humans are their primary food source).
- Say My Name:
- Both Nani and Bubbles shout "Lilo!" a few times after Lilo flees Bubbles's car and runs off.
- Lilo screams Stitch's name twice in the climax. The first time is after Stitch is blasted off of Gantu's ship with the afterburners, and the second time is after he crashes the truck into the volcano and Gantu's ship comes at him again.
- Nani screams Lilo's name again after Gantu's ship blows up.
- Scale Model Destruction: Stitch makes a scale model of San Francisco in Lilo's room... then thrashes it in a kaiju rampage. This was a way for him to tell Lilo what his true purpose is without actually saying so. She doesn't get it.Lilo: No more caffeine for you.
- Scary Black Man: Played with in the case of Cobra Bubbles. At first, he looks very imposing and acts rather uncaring. However later on, he shows himself to be a lot more than that. He does indeed want Lilo to be safe, but he doesn't want to split Lilo and Nani up because they're all they have in the world, mentioning he'll take Lilo away only because he has to. The end credits show him hanging out with them, watching movies, and having Thanksgiving dinner.
- The Scream: When Pleakley and Jumba spend their first night on Earth, and Pleakley discovers a very painful truth about the so-called wildlife preserve's so-called "endangered species":Pleakley: Look! A mosquito has chosen me as her perch. She's so beautiful. Look, another one! And another one! Why, it's a whole flock! They like me! They're nuzzling my flesh with their noses! Now they're... they're...
(Cut to a distant shot of their campsite near the house as Pleakley screams in pain.)
- Scream Discretion Shot: When Pleakley gets swarmed by mosquitoes the camera cuts away as we are treated to this.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Pleakley's sensitive guy to Jumba's manly man. One has a complete refusal to destroy Earth while the other built a genetic experiment that (assuming that he hadn't been caught) would have wreaked havoc throughout the galaxy.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
- It's said that Stitch can't survive in water since "his molecular density is too great". This would mean simply that he has a higher density than water—i.e., even if he were, for example, to hold his breath, he would not be able to displace enough water to increase his buoyancy enough and he'd still be too dense to swim. In laymen's terms: he sinks like a rock and can't swim.
- Cobra Bubbles. "Allow me to illuminate to you the precarious position in which you find yourself," and "Thus far, you've been adrift in the harbor of my patience."
- The Shadow Knows: When Nani walks into the kitchen complaining about Stitch, his shadow is silhouetted on the wall with his antennae, spines, and extra arms extended. She gasps and drops the phone, and the camera cuts to Stitch in his "dog" form raiding the fridge.
- When Stitch rips up a drawing of Lilo's, she exclaims, "No! That's from my blue period!"
- Many of the background aliens have designs based on Winnie-the-Pooh characters. The alien who says "He's loose on deck C" appears to be modeled after Roo, the alien who calculates where Stitch will land is clearly modeled after Piglet, and "Tigger" informs the High Councilwoman that most of Earth is covered in water.
- Mulan Wok. Also, there is a Mulan poster hanging on Nani's wall.
- In Lilo's room, on the shelf on her easel, there's a small Dumbo doll. Doubly fitting is the fact that Dumbo was also an outcast in his film, which was also painted with watercolors like this one.
- During the end credits, the photo around the dinner table is staged like Norman Rockwell's Freedom from Want.
- The blonde lifeguard's red swimsuit is of the same style and cut as the iconic red swimsuits worn by the women of Baywatch.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Heavily optimistic and in a surprisingly realistic way with Lilo and Nani's life.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Jumba and Stitch trade insults while brawling in Lilo's house.Jumba: I'll put you back together again. I'll make you taller, and not so fluffy! (throws plates at Stitch, who is crawling on the ceiling)
Stitch: I like fluffy!
- Social Services Does Not Exist: Averted in the most traumatizing way—the contrast of wacky alien hijinks with the reality of a teenage orphan trying and failing to support her baby sister is a main plot point.
- Songs of Solace: Lilo slumps on the floor and listens to "Heartbreak Hotel" after being rejected by the other girls.
- Source Music:
- The opening chant, "He Mele No Lilo", is also the song being performed by Lilo's hula class, for which she is late.
- Stitch plays guitar to the solos in Elvis Presley's "(You're the) Devil in Disguise", which plays in the background.
- Space Isolation Horror: Implied to be the fate of Experiment 626: he's to be taken by prison transport to a barren asteroid, and abandoned there. Perhaps, the authorities forbid capital punishment, or the condemned is too indestructible to be executed. It's still marooning on a cold, lonely rock in the void of space.
- Space Plane: The United Galactic Federation has a fleet of them.
- Spiteful Spit: Stitch spits on the guard keeping an eye on him. Since the cannons in the cell are locked to his genetic signature, he then realizes that he can blow up the door to his cell by spitting on it, too.
- Split-Screen Phone Call: Used for a brief moment while Lilo is on the phone with Cobra Bubbles.Lilo: Oh good, my dog found the chainsaw.Mr. Bubbles: Lilo! Don't hang
- Standard Snippet: Given that this movie is set in Hawaii, "Aloha 'Oe" naturally makes an appearance. However, it's not the silly instrumental steel guitar version that shows up most times this song is used as a Standard Snippet—the lyrics (about saying goodbye to someone) show up, too, in the most utterly heartbreaking fashion.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: When Lilo first reveals Scrump after hula class when she wants to play dolls with the other girls, they are horrified by the doll's appearance, and Lilo doesn't notice until she's in the middle of her next line that the girls have gone.
- Storefront Television Display: Stitch happens to pass an appliance store with a TV set in the front window. The set is showing an old B-movie: Earth vs. the Spider. Stitch later constructs a scale model of San Francisco in Lilo's room just so that he can go all Gojiro on it. Lilo glumly notes, "No more caffeine for you."
- Stuff Blowing Up: Lilo and Nanis house, thanks to Jumbas jammed gun. And in the climax, Gantus ship after Stitch gets Lilo out of it.
- Suddenly Shouting: Pleakley does this during a call to his mother while he and Jumba are up a palm tree spying on Stitch: "Oh, can't complain, Mom. I'm camping out with a convicted criminal, and, uh, oh, I had my head chewed on BY A MONSTER!"
- Superior Species: The aliens compared to "primitive humanoid life forms", who have to begin life all over when an asteroid strikes the planet. It's justified, as from the point of view of a galactic-spanning alien empire, humans are primitive.
- Surprisingly Happy Ending: Just after Stitch saves Lilo, the Grand Councilwoman arrives to take him away. Even after Stitch shows signs of being reformed, the Councilwoman points out that the law is absolute. Then Lilo points out that she bought him at the shelter, and that taking him away would be stealing. The Councilwoman then declares that Stitch will serve the rest of his sentence on Earth, under the care of Lilo and her family. As an added bonus, because of this, Lilo's family is under intergalactic protection. This means that she can't be taken away by child services, which she was initially facing.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The main reason why this film is a comedy-drama instead of a straight comedy.
- When Lilo's home gets destroyed by a bunch of aliens, it's played for laughs. When Nani and social worker Cobra Bubbles come back (just after Nani was able to convince him not to separate her from Lilo)... it leads to the social worker deciding to take the little girl away, much to Nani and Lilo's despair.
- By extension, the entire film's slapstick is typical of the comedy genre, but it's significantly less funny from the perspective of Nani, who ends up suffering real consequences for it (losing her job, several other potential positions, her house, and nearly her sister) because of it, and Cobra Bubbles, who only sees the aftermath of what appears to be Nani's irresponsible parenting.
- Soon after his crash-landing, Stitch attempts to take down a truck driving right at him... and gets run over.
- Tailor-Made Prison: Stitch is taken to a cell where two laser cannons (locked to his genetic signature) are aimed at him that will cause him physical harm if he decides to make a break for it instead of being sent to a desert asteroid as his captives have planned, in addition to a rather sturdy door and a guard to keep an eye on him. He manages to break out anyway.
- Technically a Smile: 626 bares his teeth in the most humorously creepy way when he says "Hi!" to Lilo in an attempt to show friendliness and to get her to adopt him. Considering what happens from there, you could say that it worked.
- Tempting Fate: After Nani sees a fire engine drives past after the house is blown up, she quietly says, "Oh, don't turn left." It does.
- The Teaser: Jumba's trial and 626's subsequent escape.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Poor Ice Cream Man...
- Third-Person Person: Stitch, mostly, although he actually does this only twice in the movie when he strikes a conversation with the Grand Councilwoman when she comes to arrest him, and within seconds of each instance. ("Does Stitch have to go in the ship?" and "Can Stitch say goodbye?") Still, it's in the franchise's later material where this becomes a regular habit for him.
- Threatening Shark: "Oh, look, a friendly little dolphin. They helped sailors during the war... It's a shark! It's a shark and it ain't friendly! Looks like a dolphin... Tricky fish! Tricky fish!" It turns out to be an octopus.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Mint chocolate chip ice cream seems to be this for the fat guy tourist. Shame he never gets round to actually eating it.
- Translation: "Yes":
- A variant occurs near the end of the film, where Stitch is trying to convince Jumba and Pleakley to help him rescue Lilo from Captain Gantu.Jumba: What?! After all you put me through, you expect me to help you just like that? Just like that?!
Pleakley: "Fine"? You're doing what he says?
Jumba: He's very persuasive.
- We later learn that "Ih" just means "yes", making it funnier.
- A variant occurs near the end of the film, where Stitch is trying to convince Jumba and Pleakley to help him rescue Lilo from Captain Gantu.
- Trash the Set: When Jumba chases Stitch into the house and tries to attack him, the house gets more and more damaged, culminating in Jumba's plugged gun blowing the house up.
- Tree Buchet: While Jumba and Pleakley are up a tree spying on Stitch, Jumba lets himself out of the tree at the end of the scene, catapulting Pleakley away.
- The Trickster: This is what Stitch is designed to be, and he's very good at being one.
- True Companions: Though Lilo and Nani are blood relatives, they form an unconventional little ʻohana with their alien house guests.
- Tuft of Head Fur: Stitch has a small tuft of fur on his head.
- The Unintelligible: Throughout most of the film, Stitch speaks an alien language called Tantalog.note Though he understands and can speak English, he keeps it to himself, since he is aware that he is pretending to be a dog and the woman at the animal shelter said dogs can't talk.
- Unishment: Stitch's sentence for the havoc he caused is exile to Earth. The Grand Councilwoman does this intentionally, though, to avoid separating him from his newfound family, avoid violating the law of both the Federation and Earth by stealing Stitch from his owner, and still satisfying her comrades' desire to see Stitch punished for his actions.
- Unlucky Extra: The fat guy tourist. Every time he runs into Lilo, he loses his ice cream. Once it was even knocked out of his hands by a spaceship.
- Unsuccessful Pet Adoption: Almost happened between Lilo and Stitch when he causes trouble the first day after being adopted. Lilo manages to convince Nani not to take him back because of what their dad told them.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody really seems to notice or care much about Jumba and Pleakley, when their disguises do almost nothing to hide themselves. Stitch is a similar case, though most characters do react to him, with their first question usually being along the lines of "what is that?"
- Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Lilo, a quirky girl with a dark streak, goes to the animal shelter and gets the weirdest looking pet there, actually an escaped alien who she thinks is a puppy. Before she does, she asks the shelter attendant for a lobster.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Jumba plugs his own gun with a carrot when Stitch grabs it, only for this to cause the gun to overload and blow the house up.
- Up, Up and Away!: Stitch assumes the one-arm-up pose after launching himself towards Gantu's ship with an exploding tanker truck.
- Vanilla Edition: Disney nowadays tends to release DVDs with much fewer bonus features than Blu-ray Discs and iTunes digital copies. This movie provides an exception, as the Blu-ray Disc (which also holds Stitch Has a Glitch) contains no bonus features at all, while the "Big Wave" 2-Disc DVD (released in 2009) and iTunes Digital HD copy boast hours of extras. The blow to Blu-ray collectors gets softened just ever so slightly by Disney including disc one of the Big Wave DVD in the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and a digital code in the Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack.
- Victimized Bystander: There's the fat tourist with an ice cream cone, which keeps dropping anytime he runs into Lilo. In his last scene, the ice cream is knocked off by the wing of a passing spaceship.
- Villains Out Shopping: Subverted a few times with Jumba and Pleakley while they are disguised, as they are trying to blend in and use the opportunity to recapture Stitch.
- Villain Protagonist: Initially played straight with Stitch, subverted after his Character Development.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: David, who only gets a shirt in a few of the photos at the end of the movie.
- Walking Swimsuit Scene: Nani. Both her sporty striped bikini for surfing and the green one with matching sandals and sarong for her job at the luau.
- Weaponized Exhaust: Gantu turns his exhaust inward on Stitch, who is trying to rescue Lilo from the pod in the back of the ship.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Grand Councilwoman briefly considers gassing Earth as noted above. Fortunately, Pleakley persuades her not to.
- Wham Line:
Lilo: That's us before...it was rainy, and they went for a drive.
- When Mr. Bubbles asks, "Lilo, didn't you buy that thing at the shelter?", this causes Lilo to remember she adopted Stitch and shows her adoption papers to the GC to convince her to let Stitch stay, because if she takes him away, she'll be guilty of theft.
- Lilo reveals the fate of her parents to Stitch.
Lilo: I hear you cry at night. Do you dream about them?
- Right after that, Lilo reveals something about Stitch so matter-of-fact, it hits you like a train.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Inverted. When Gantu finally appears on earth, he captures both Lilo and Stitch at once; as he secures their pod to the back of his ship, he refers to Lilo as a snack for Stitch. Justified, as Pleakley's informal report on Earth clearly indicated that humans were the unintelligent food source for the mosquito.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The end credits feature a collection of photos showing the new family after the events of the movie.
- White-and-Grey Morality: No one here is truly evil, not even self-described "evil genius" Jumba and "evil experiment" Stitch. The arguably-worst character, morally speaking (Gantu), is simply trying to recapture what he views as a violent, uncontrollable monster though, bringing along a defenseless human girl with said "monster" with the notion that she'd become a "snack" for it might have been going a little too far.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Agent Pleakley is trying to blend in with Hawaiian tourists. Miraculously, no one notices that the petite brunette accompanying Jumba has green skin, three fingers, three legs and one eye. Nani chalks it up to Stitch's assault on him, but Jumba reassures her, "Actually, she's just ugly."
- Wish Upon a Shooting Star: Lilo mistakes Experiment 626's crash landing for a shooting star and wishes for a friend.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- Gantu captures Lilo alongside Stitch and doesn't seem too fazed about it, even saying he caught Stitch "a little snack", implying he thought Stitch would eat her. We know he wouldn't, but still.
- Jumba invades Nani's house after he and Pleakley are fired by the Grand Councilwoman:Jumba (to Stitch): Hiding behind your little friend won't work any more. Didn't I tell you? We got fired this morning, new rules.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Zigzagged with Jumba. After Lilo and Nani adopt Stitch, Jumba aims his gun at Stitch and Lilo appears. Pleakley orders Jumba not to fire. Jumba says he wouldn't fire at Lilo. Pleakley is against it because Lilo is a part of the mosquito food chain. Stitch exploits this by using Lilo as a shield from Jumba and Pleakley, making it harder for them to recapture him. This changes once Jumba and Pleakley are fired, with Jumba eagerly telling Stitch: "Oh, hiding behind your little friend won't work anymore. We got fired, new rules." He has a change of heart when Stitch persuasively convinces Jumba to help rescue Lilo after she is kidnapped by Gantu.
- You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
- The Grand Councilwoman, accompanied with a Little "No", when she sees that a trajectory of Stitch's cruiser on a monitor will land on an island instead of crashing into the sea.
- Stitch has a very expressive seizure that non-verbally expresses this sentiment when after riding all around the island to find a large city he sees water everywhere and Lilo muses on the fact they live on, well, an island surrounded by water with no large cities, meaning there's no way he can get off or let loose his destructive urges.
- Jumba, after capturing Stitch, who persuades him to rescue Lilo:Jumba: What?! After all you put me through, you expect me to help you just like that? Just like that?
- And Pleakley, when riding a stolen motorcycle:Pleakley: Oh, great! I was hoping to add theft, endangerment and insanity to my list of things I did today!
- You No Take Candle: One of the truck drivers speaks broken pidgin English when Stitch's retractable back spikes puncture their tires:Young truck driver: What we when hit? [He checks under the truck] There it is, it stay jammed under the fender!
- Your Mom: During the fight where Lilo's house is wrecked, Jumba says to Stitch, "Leave my mother out of this!"
You can watch all four main trailers in this video.note
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The Disney characters are reasonably more angsty once they see Stitch.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Princess Jasmine from Aladdin is depicted as a Gold Digger who ditches Aladdin for Stitch when she sees he has a spaceship, which she finds more impressive than Aladdin's magic carpet.
- Animated Actors: Implied to be this. Both Belle and Aladdin tell Stitch to "get [his] own movie", Ariel is annoyed at Stitch for ruining her song, and Timon apparently knew Simba well before they would ever meet, even though (at least according to 2004's The Lion King 1½) he and Pumbaa weren't even aware of Simba's presentation.
- Black Sheep: Invoked; Stitch was such an unusual character for Disney at the time that they decided to play up this trope with him as much as possible, leading to these trailers and the film's theatrical release poster.
- Captain Obvious: Either Timon or a random warthog (not Pumbaa) points out that Rafiki is not holding Simba.
- Commercial Switcheroo: These trailers would start with an iconic scene from a classic Disney movie, and then have Stitch interrupt the moment.
- Fake Crossover: These are solely made for marketing.
- Falling Chandelier: The Beauty and the Beast "Inter-Stitch-al" trailer features the ballroom scene, with Stitch watching from the chandelier—until it crashes to the ground from his weight, almost crushing the two.
- Foreshadowing: The Aladdin "Inter-Stitch-al" trailer has Stitch playing "Hound Dog" on a radio in the Red One as he woos Jasmine, one of the earliest signs that Elvis Presley would play a major role in the actual film.
- "Lion King" Lift: The Lion King "Inter-Stitch-al" trailer depicts the iconic scene but with Rafiki lifting Stitch instead of Simba. Either Timon or a random warthog who's not Pumbaa then says, "Hey, that's not Simba!". After Stitch speaks in his native alien language, all the animals run away.
- Musicalis Interruptus: All except The Lion King one with Timon involve this.
- Pun: These are interstitial trailers that happen to feature Stitch.
- Trailer Spoof: Nearly all the trailers appeared to be a trailer for some other Disney movie at first, only to be interrupted by Stitch, partly to make it clear it was a lighter, wackier film than the company's usual output. The movie's tagline was even "There's one in every family."
- Weird Crossover: Between the original film, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid (1989) and The Lion King (1994).
- Wolf Whistle: Stitch does the two-note whistle once he sees Disney beauties Belle and Jasmine. Belle wasn't charmed by him, but Jasmine apparently was.